The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, more popularly known as ISKCON, is a Hindu religious organization with temples established across India as well as abroad. Also called the Hare Krishna movement, the organization follows the line of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a monotheistic tradition within the Hindu culture. The beautiful ISKCON temples spread across the county serve as great attractions for devotees and travelers who want some time away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Want to know more about the ISKCON movement? This blog has everything you should know about the organization, including its history, architecture, core beliefs, and a list of major ISKCON temples in India.
ISKCON Temples Quick Info
- Name of Foundation: The International Society for Krishna Consciousness
- Also Known as: Hare Krishna Movement
- Location: Worldwide
- Type: Religious Organization
- Founder: C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
- Year of Establishment: 13th July 1966 in New York City, USA
- Headquarters: Mayapur, West Bengal
- Affiliations: Gaudiya Vaishnavism
- Largest ISKCON Complex: ISKCON Bangalore
- Architecture of ISKCON Temples: Neo-Vedic and Classical Indian with a touch of modern elements
ISKCON was founded by Abhaya Caranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami (born Abhay Charan De) in New York City, USA, in the year 1966. He is considered as the spiritual guru of the organization. ISKCON was founded with the objective of encouraging the practice of Bhakti Yoga or Krishna Consciousness. The members of ISKCON dedicate their words and deeds towards pleasing Lord Krishna, whom they consider to be the Supreme One.
In the last 53 years, the organization has opened hundreds of temples, centers, and rural communities across the world. ISKCON has also established over a hundred vegetarian restaurants, several local meeting groups, and a number of community projects including free food distribution programs (Food for Life Project) and eco-villages, to mention a few. They have also founded a scientific research branch in 1976, named Bhaktivedanta Institute (BI), which encourages the study of the origin of life and nature by making use of Vedic insights.
Architecture of ISKCON Temples
Many of the ISKCON temples in India and abroad showcase features of neo-Vedic and traditional forms of architecture. For instance, the temple established in Spanish Fork, United States is designed like a 15th-century Indian palace complete with elaborate arches, verandas, and columns. The temple in West Virginia, which has been called the Taj of America, features a splendid gold dome. Many ISKCON temples in India are also designed using classic architectural styles.
Core Beliefs of ISKCON
The members of ISKCON follow the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, a Vaishnava religious movement that has been prevalent in India since the latter part of the 15thcentury. ISKCON followers form the largest branch of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Bhaktivedanta Swami took this tradition to the Western world and spread it through his write-ups and translations of Hindu Holy Scriptures like the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita, and Chaitanya Charitamrita among others. These works are now regarded as the scriptures of ISKCON and are available in many languages.
The ISKCON theology upholds Lord Krishna as the ultimate God and the source of all avatars of the Almighty. Radha is regarded as the female counterpart of Krishna and the epitome of divine love.
Preaching is a major element of the ISKCON movement. Followers of this organization spread consciousness about Lord Krishna mainly through the singing of Hare Krishna songs and mantras in public places and distributing books written by the founder-guru. These activities are called Sankirtan within the organization.
Major ISKCON Temples in India
ISKCON has a huge following of devotees in India. Several cities and towns have elaborately designed temples where Lord Krishna is worshipped and glorified. Here is a list of the major ISKCON temples in India:
|ISKCON Mayapur||Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Temple||Mayapur, West Bengal|
|ISKCON Bangalore||Sri Radha Krishna Temple||Rajajinagar, Bangalore|
|ISKCON Vrindavan||Sri Krishna Balaram Temple||Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh|
|ISKCON New Delhi||Sri Sri Radhikaraman-Krishna Balaram Temple||East of Kailash, New Delhi|
|ISKCON Mumbai||Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple||Chowpatty, Mumbai|
|ISKCON Pune||Sri Sri Radha Vrindavanchandra Temple||Camp, Pune|
|ISKCON Hyderabad||Sri Sri Radha-Madanmohan Mandir||Abids, Hyderabad|
|ISKCON Noida||Sri Sri Radha Govind Mandir||Sector 33, Noida|
|ISKCON Ahmedabad||Sri Sri Radha Govind Dham||Sarkhej – Gandhinagar Highway, Ahmedabad|
|ISKCON Chennai||Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple||Sholinganallur, Chennai|
|ISKCON Siliguri||Sri Sri Radha Madhav Sundar Mandir||Siliguri, West Bengal|
|ISKCON Guwahati||Sri Sri Rukmini Krishna||South Sarania, Guwahati|
|ISKCON Bhubaneswar||Shri Krishna Balaram Temple||Nayapalli, Bhubaneswar|
|ISKCON Surat||Sri Sri Radha Damodar Mandir||Jahangir Pura, Surat|
|ISKCON Anantapur||Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi Temple||Somaladoddi, Andhra Pradesh|
|ISKCON Chandigarh||Sri Sri Radha Madhav Temple||Sector-36B, Chandigarh|
Lesser-known Facts about ISKCON Temples
- The ISKCON temple in Bangalore is touted to be the largest ISKCON complex in the world. It features a gold-plated flag post that is 56 feet high.
- The ISKCON temple in Delhi is known for its Bhagavad Gita Animatronics, Mahabharata Light and Sound Show, and a Ramayana Art Gallery.
- The ISKCON temple in Delhi also houses the Astounding Bhagavad Gita, which is arguably the largest religious book ever printed. The book weighs over 800 kilograms.
- George Harrison, one of the members of the Beatles, was a follower of the Krishna Consciousness. He is believed to have provided financial support to the ISKCON temple in the UK.
- Abhaya Caranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of ISKCON, was a family man running a small pharmaceutical business before he renounced the worldly pleasures and took the religious path.
The ISKCON temples serve as major tourist place in most cities across India. Whether you follow the religious beliefs propagated by the organization or not, you can always walk into these elaborate temples and immerse in the spiritual vibe, architectural grandeur, and serenity of the place. So next time when you are in any of these cities, don’t forget to include the ISKCON temple in your itinerary.